Monday, April 30, 2007

A new challenge

Just checking my emails on this rainy Monday morning...delete SPAM--ick, can't even stand the sound of that...ah, mails from writing friends, good, I'll read those in a sec...hmm...editor--second round of edits on short story--probably all grammar bits now. Ugh. Will do that in two secs, after I read friendly mail...oh, what's this? Mail from another Wild Rose Press author? Hmm...

Aha! A challenge for a gloomy Monday morning, one that makes my blood heat and my pulse quicken. She's organizing a May NaNoWriMo-- a MaNoWriMo!! Same principle as the November National Novel Writing Month. 30 days, 50,000 words.

Do I want to participate? Hmm, let's see...well, it took less than a half a second to say "YES!!" in my mind and it'll take a minute to write the email that will commit me to particpating, but the thrill I'm feeling over the prospect of the adventure of writing a new novel in May is sure to stick with me for...ah, welll, probably for at least a month!

So with this morning's mail I've been given the opportunity to stretch myself once again. It's an opportunity I'm pleased to accept. So thanks, Lauren. Yes, I'll write with all of you! I know we'll have a great time, and hopefully by June 1st we'll each have a novel we can be proud of.

There you have it, the first challenge of the week. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Oh, that's right! Tomorrow will bring the first words of the May novel. :)

Now, back to my emails...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fifty Trees in Fifty Days

Fifty Trees In Fifty Days.

Strikes me as a great title for a book. I can even conjure up the threads of the story from the title, get a rough draft going in my head just from those five words. It's an intriguing story, one of love and betrayal, revenge and a heart-stopping race, man against time against man. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Tempting for me, whose fingers itch at the prospect of writing said novel.

Hmm...Fifty Trees In Fifty Days. It has potential. Maybe.

But consider yet another title, one I know in painful--truly painful--detail. The title? Fifty Trees In One Day.

Uh huh. You read right. Fifty Trees In One Day.

Plot synopsis? Take one man, one woman, two stubborn streaks and fifty 3'-high trees. Set them loose on rolling green pastures and see what happens. Oh, and toss in one roto-tiller, a brush hog, several shovels, pick-axes, rakes, a lawn mower that refused to either start or mow, a hop bar and assorted wet, muddy gloves and boots and you've got the basic outline of the story. Except wait, I've forgotten to give you the tone, setting-wise. Cloudy, off-and-on rainy. Damp, chilly, soggy. Get it all?

Now, did you imagine that Fifty Trees In One Day is a tale of woe, hardship and agony? Man against nature, the struggle for survival? Or did you think that Fifty Trees In One Day is a light-hearted romantic comedy, a silly romp highlighting teamwork, commitment and passion?

If you guessed the latter, you guessed correctly.

I suppose you must have heard the giggles.

So how did you spend your Saturday? :)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Finding Time

Have you any idea how often an author hears "Oh, when I have the time I'm going to write a book, too"? I won't even get started on just exactly what I honestly think about that statement. I'll just say, "Lotsa luck."

Does anyone realize just how hard it is to find the time to write a book?

Authors know that it is a matter of making the time to write a book. No, we don't manufacture minutes or hours, that would be great but we all know how impossible it is. No, authors who are determined to keep writing make use of hours others generally use for different things. Like sleeping. A lot of my writing is done during the wee hours, when darkness reigns and others snore. Would I like to be sleeping, too? You betcha. So why am I awake, pushing my fingers against the keys as quickly as they'll move? Because a lot of days, those are the only hours I have free. I make the sleeping hours writing hours. I make the time.

So, do you think those folks who're going to write a book when they find the time are willing to sacrifice sleep for writing?

Come on, do you really think they will?

That's what I thought, too.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Romance in the air

Last night I watched "The Runaway Bride" for the umpteenth time. It is one of my very favorite movies, for lots of reasons. (Not the least of which being how easy Richard Gere is on the eyes!) But it takes place in fictional Hale, Maryland which is actually the small town of Berlin, Maryland. My husband and I owned a beach house on the Eastern Shore for a number of years and often spent time in Berlin, so the place has a special meaning for us.

Watching this movie made me there something special about a certain place that makes people feel more romantic when they're there? For instance, Berlin is the perfect setting for such a wonderfully romantic movie. Anyone who's been there can attest that the air there is sweet and the breeze sultry. It's a spot that encourages hand-holding, long lunches in the park and stolen kisses beneath a star-filled sky. Is there some kind of "romance cloud" that envelopes the Eastern Shore? Or is it the people who flock there? Are they the romance cloud?

Hmm...something to think about. Does romance come to us in special spots...or do we bring the romance with us when we arrive?

All I know is we're making plans to travel back to the Eastern Shore sometime in the very near future. ;-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I woke in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. A thought flashed through my mind, one that was actually fit to share. Not one of those ridiculous, rambling, middle-of-the-night snippets but the realization I have failed to do something I'd promised to do. And we all know how I feel about broken promises. Probably you feel broken promises stink, too.

So what have I neglected to do?

A while back I promised to share, from time to time, what I am reading with you. But although I've been inhaling books at an almost-frightening speed, I've neglected to share them with you.

My bad.

It would be difficult for me, and dull as dirt for you, I'm sure, if I simply made a long, tedious list of the books I've read recently so I'm just going to share my thoughts about one. One really, really good one. One that kept me mesmerized from the first sentence, and left me satisfied but sorry when the final word was in my mind. Why sorry? Because an excellent tale had come to an end and I selfishly wanted it to continue. It was that good.

Oh, the book? Sorry, I knew I was forgetting something...

Angel in the Rain by Devon Matthews.

It is a gripping tale set in the old west, with bandits and bounty hunters, beautiful women and handsome gunslingers. I loved it, just loved it, and can whole-heartedly recommend this book. It is a Wild Rose Press release and is only available in ebook form now but I am fairly certain it will be coming out in print soon. I enjoyed it so much that although I've read it I plan on buying the print book, too. That way I'll be able to lovingly "wear out" the pages, the way I've done with all of my most favorite books.

Devon Matthews is a talented writer and I am really, really looking forward to reading whatever comes next from her. If it is half as good as Angel in the Rain, it will be wonderful!

So there you have it. What I've been reading.

Now I can sleep easy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I just checked one of my email accounts and found something that's been popping up more frequently as of late. What is it, you ask? is fan mail. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, especially for me, but I, apparently, have fans.

Um...Excuse me while I sit here and giggle for a moment or two...still giggling...ahem, right. Yes, I'm fine now. No more giggling...well, almost no more giggling... I'll control myself, I promise. Sometime - snort! - soon.

When my cookbooks came out last summer I did get some fan mail. Elderly women who told me they hadn't had apple pie like the one in my book for fifty years, not since their dear sainted mothers had last baked it for them. And homemakers who wrote to tell me the breakfast recipes were fun and easy. Oh, I even got one or two letters telling me of typos, which were, appreciated. Really. But although the letters and emails were wonderful, kind and fun, I never really considered them fan mail. Just letters from fellow cooks, I thought.

But since "Lucy Comes Calling" was published in Spinetingler magazine I've been getting fan mail. At first, it came in fits and starts. Then, a small trickle. Now, a fairly steady stream. It's great and wonderfully exciting and completely rewarding to learn that people are reading, and enjoying, what I've written.

Yet, it's still sort of strange. I read this morning's letter, a touching note about how much this reader thought of Freedom's Touch, and felt fabulous. My feet, had they been on the ground, would have left it. I felt a definite heat in the center of my chest, a warmth spreading from my heart out to the rest of my body.

Then, and I've got to be honest here, I shuddered. Yes, shuddered. Because for someone as private as I am, knowing that so many people are reading my words is sort of like standing in the street in my underwear. And not my fancy, go-to-parties panties, either, but my everyday, plain, ordinary bloomers.

Still, I hope the fan mail continues. Maybe I'll begin to wear lacy underwear every day. And who knows? Maybe all that shuddering will burn a few extra calories, too!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Good news!

One thing a writer likes is contracts. Contracts offered, contracts signed...they are the thing that makes every writer grin, even if the contract is one that won't be accepted. But when it's one that was hoped for? Let's just say the grin is very, very wide.

Yesterday I accepted contracts for two of my novels. Sniffing Sand and Timeless will both be published by Whiskey Creek Press and I couldn't be happier about this news. Both books are dear to my heart, each for its own unique reasons, and to know they will be read, and hopefully enjoyed, is a thrill like none other.

As soon as I have a publication date for each of these I'll share it with you. For now, it's enough to have signed the contracts! I'll be grinning for days to come...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Freedom's Touch Excerpt

Good morning all! It's snowy here and I'm honestly feeling kind of disgruntled by snow on our daffodils so I'm just going to post an excerpt from my latest release, FREEDOM'S TOUCH. It released yesterday from The Wild Rose Press and it is something that, at least, puts a smile on my face this snowy morning. I hope it does the same for you.


The voice that came to her from the gloom wasn't the one she expected. It was, instead, the voice she heard night after night in her dreams.

"Why, you'd think it was an ordinary occasion for you to receive visitors after dark, the way you're standing there in your night dress."

"Marsh—is that really you?"

The figure swung off his mount, secured the animal to the hitching post and took the steps two at a time.

"Of course it's me, Katy-did. Did you expect someone else?" His teasing tone made her heart skip a beat, as did the familiar nickname—no one else called her Katy-did but Marsh. The sound of it on his lips stole her breath away.

Throwing her arms around him, she lifted her face to his and smiled.He felt solid in her arms, the living embodiment of her endless imaginings. Pressing herself to him, she opened her mouth to speak but didn't manage to utter a sound. Marsh's mouth met hers with a hunger that took them both by surprise. Their lips touched, their tongues explored and their bodies heated as all the repressed desires rose to the surface in the beat of their hearts. Kay met his touch without restraint, her tongue swirling around his in the age-old dance of love that required no lessons.

The thin cotton night dress provided no buffer between her body andthe regulation uniform Marsh was wearing. His arousal was evident, insistent against her body as her hips ground into his.

I don't know what you're doing here, my darling man, but I'm not going to let you go until we've dropped these barriers between us, thought Kay.

(c) Sarita Leone, April 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Freedom's Touch

FREEDOM'S TOUCH, Book Two in the Legacy of the Celtic Brooch Series, releases tomorrow! I am excited beyond words about this. It was a great honor to be invited to participate in this wonderful project and I hope my installment of the series will be enjoyed by readers. It takes the brooch from one age into another, this time into the turmoil of the Civil War.
A blurb:
Across an ocean, to another land and time, the brooch goes from hand to hand, heart to heart.As the Civil War rages, Kay Lane does what most women do—she works to keep her country home intact, struggles to manage her family’s small shop and waits for word that the chaos that’s invaded their lives will soon come to an end. She hopes, too, for word of the man who has claimed her heart.
Marsh was one of the first to volunteer for duty, and now that he’s gone Kay wishes they had married before he left. But regrets won’t win a war, and as Marsh fights his battles, Kay wages her own crusade for freedom. She becomes a conductor for the Underground Railroad, using her ancestral brooch to signal the arrival of new fugitives.But will Kay and Marsh’s shared love and unerring belief that freedom belongs to all be enough to shelter them through the next big battle? Gettysburg looms and the hands and hearts that hold the brooch will be forced to endure new trials. Only time will tell if freedom’s touch will unite —or separate—them.
And an excerpt:

“Thank you, ma’am,” the woman whispered, her voice cracking as she spoke. Kay understood that on the trail to freedom, words were a luxury those on the run could ill afford to waste and she was touched by the woman’s show of gratitude.

“You’re very welcome,” Kay said. She would have loved to linger but with every passing minute the chance she could be discovered missing from the house grew. “When you move on tonight, keep traveling north. You’ll walk a good twelve miles this night, so rest well. Go back the way you came, through the woods until you find the stream again. Walk beside it as it winds toward the mountains. Follow the north star—you know that one, don’t you?” She waited until all three heads nodded before she continued. “Follow the star, keeping the stream on your right side.”
She held up her right hand and waited until three darker ones joined hers. “Until you see a cabin beneath a stand of pines. There will be an ‘X’ on the side of the cabin—you know what an ‘X’ is, don’t you? Good, then just go into the cabin and wait. The next conductor will be to you before sunrise. Do you understand what I’ve told you?”
“Yes’m, we do.” The man sounded tired and looked as if he needed a bath, a hot meal and a warm bed.
Kay resisted the impulse to reach out and hug him, knowing her desire to comfort would be shocking for the travel-weary passengers to deal with. She wished she could offer these people more, wished with all her heart and soul they didn’t have to pay so dearly for their freedom. But wishing, especially in a world gone mad the way theirs had, only made her sad. She took a deep breath and placed a hand on the latch that opened the hidden panel.
Before leaving, she turned and met the gaze of each person and held it for several long moments, trying to memorize their faces. It was the only way she had of keeping them close.
After she scooted through the panel and out of the barn, she would never see any of them again. Instead she’d be left to wonder whether they completed their journey, whether they lived or died and whether they’d found freedom in this world—or the next.

Winter's Last Stand

As I sit here at my desk I hear a constant chorus of pings, splats and sharp, shot-like noises. What is it, you wonder? A computer meltdown? Children playing on the sidewalk below? Something in the microwave exploding? No, the symphony isn't any of those things. Instead, it's what I'm calling Winter's Last Stand. Because although the calendar says it's officially spring, and in some places it may actually be springlike, there are ice pellets smashing against the window pane. Apparently winter hasn't gotten the memo that it's out of vogue for the next half of the year. Either that or it doesn't give a rip. Or maybe it's just like so many other things here on the streets of New York. It is doing what it wants to do and the rest of us...well, we can just cope.

Absurdly I am amused by this whole springtime winter storm. I know, I know, it's going to be a crappy commute for everyone. But the fact that the non-conformist weather is the top news of the day in this part of the world is funny. It is the thing that we'll all be talking about, not only today but for the rest of the week, at least.

And as it begins to pound even more insistently against the glass beside me, I stifle a giggle. Why? Because, and this is a secret I usually keep to myself, I'm a bit of a non-conformist too. A rebel. A go-my-own-way sort of gal. Always finding my way a bit to the left or right of the beaten path, I guess you'd say. So a bit of rebellious weather amuses the pants off me!

What about you? Are you a stick-to-the-calendar-of-life type of person or do you muddle through at your own pace? Either one works, and eventually we all reach our destinations, whatever they may be. And really, to make everything run smoothly we truly need all kinds, don't we? :)

So whether you'd be caressing my face with the tender breeze of an early spring day or a winter-wannabe rebel heaving even bigger ice balls at me, I hope this day treats you well.Me? I'm going to enjoy a day of inclement weather. It'll keep me inside at my computer, writing.

After all, isn't winter making a last stand so I can work?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Vineyard Mambo News!

One more thing.

Last night I heard from my publisher that Vineyard Mambo has a March 1, 2008 release date! I am tickled by this news.

Vineyard Mambo is the very first book I wrote, the one that I began on a summer afternoon on a yellow legal pad. Then I went out and bought a typewriter. The original manuscript is in a box in our safe. How funny is that? To think it will be published is mind-boggling for me but very exciting, too.

So. March 1st.

Vineyard Mambo arrives, courtesy of Whiskey Creek Press.


HA! Bet I surprised you, didn't I? I'm sure you didn't expect to see me back here again so soon, did you? Just goes to show that we writers can be unpredictable. So really, be prepared...for anything!

Got up while the world was still sleeping, wrapped in a darkness so thick it felt like black wool wrapped around the house, and worked on catching up. Because really, unless I catch up a bit I won't be able to write anything new. So...catching up.

I added the final polishing strokes to a short story I've written called Bay Leaves and Bundles. It is a Colonial-era romance, a quick bit of sweet fun, that will be published by The Wild Rose Press. Sometime this summer, I think, but I have no firm date yet. Anyhow, I added the final edits and sent that off.

Whew. One bit of catching up done!

My wonderful editor for my American Rose titles, Nicole, did me a great service this past weekend. As you all know, it was Easter weekend, which is a busy time for everyone. Last week I got the galley for Freedom's Touch. So I did a read through and sent in the errata. There were quite a few issues that had to be changed yet I knew I wouldn't be available to do them And it, in two days. See the crunch factor? Well Nicole stepped right in and took care of it all and now Freedom's Touch will release on Friday as planned. If she was here I'd hug her so tightly she'd probably smack me. :) Editors can be your best asset or your worst enemy. Nicole is much better, even, than being simply an asset. She is an amazing woman, and I am very lucky to know her. YAY FOR NICOLE!!

Big whew. One huge bit of catching up, done by super-editor Nicole!

Aside from visiting with you, I've still got to give some thought this morning to an author website. I've been putting off getting one up and running but I think I'm at the end of my putting-off period. My titles are piling up and my first full-length novel, Snowdance, releases in August. So I think I'll have to cave on this one and do the website thing--soon! For now, though, the wooliness of morning is lifting. Gentle fingers of light poke through the darkness and I am called...

Until next time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Best-laid Plans know what they say about the best-laid plans, don't you? The all-knowing, ever-powerful they of legend?

I thought so.

Let's just say that I intended to stop back in last week, but that wild and wooly thing called LIFE seems to be getting in the way. Sheesh! Imagine that.

Since I've been tending to life issues, I haven't been writing nearly as much as I'd like to. Still, I've gotten a few random hours in so I don't feel entirely bereft. Mostly early-morning, darkness hours but still, they're hours. Right?

I've added a few of my cover files to the side of this blog. I figure if I'm not exactly doing much that seems blog worthy, the least I can do is provide something pretty for you to look at.

And please notice my Freedom's Touch cover is done! Isn't it gorgeous? It fits perfectly the whole feeling of the story and I'm very pleased with how the cover reflects the tale. By the way, Freedom's Touch releases this week, I think. The Wild Rose Press releases on Fridays so that's when it should be available.

Until next time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Catching up

Hmm... It's been a while since we've visited, hasn't it? For all of those who have emailed complaints about my lack of blogging, I apologize. And for those of you who didn't even notice my absence...good for you! Obviously you've got better things to do with your time than listen to my prattling on about life and writing. Or is it writing and life? Which comes first, do you think? Is it a chicken/egg sort of thing?

Oh. Right.

Catching up.

Well, it is hard to believe but over a month has passed since I've blogged. Life can be funny sometimes. Other times, not so funny. But always, at least for me, busy. And without going into details I'm just going to say that it has been busy. Not with writing, as I've done nearly none of that, but with other things. Things that are even more important to me than writing, actually. Those of you who know me know what I hold dearest and those of you that don't...well, I'll just let your fertile imaginations run amok. How's that for an early morning adventure?

So here in my corner of the world I'm attempting to get back on track. I've got galleys to read, covers to peek at, contracts to sign and words to (hopefully) breathe life into. The crocuses are blooming, the sky is that gorgeous azure blue that begs touching and there's a hint of the warm days yet to come kissing my cheeks with every breeze. What more could I ask for?

And that, dear friends, is a question for another day.

Tomorrow? Yes, I'm pretty sure I'll be back tomorrow. But really, who can ever tell where they'll be tomorrow?